The Guy Who Chases Crooks: Inside The Victoria Police Purana Taskforce

March 11, 2016

It was 20 years ago when a young homicide detective learned a bitter lesson about gangsters, murders and the consequences of cutting corners.

Which is you can never go off half-cocked at a cocky crook, particularly one as cocky as Alphonse John Gangitano, a megalomaniac who described himself as a “gentleman, professional punter, property developer and marketing manager”.

Detective Inspector Andrew Gustke speaks with the media after human remains were found in Thomastown as part of the ...

Detective Inspector Andrew Gustke speaks with the media after human remains were found in Thomastown as part of the investigation into the disappearance of Terrence Blewitt. Photo: Justin McManus

It was April 1995 and Andrew Gustke was questioning Gangitano over the murder two months earlier of standover man Greg Workman – shot eight times outside an East St Kilda party.

The image-conscious Gangitano (known as the Black Prince of Lygon Street) insisted on keeping his sunglasses on even inside the interview room. It was the third time he had been questioned and he was confident this was just another fishing expedition.

Archaeologists joined the police search for the remains of Terrence Blewitt.

Archaeologists joined the police search for the remains of Terrence Blewitt.  Photo: Justin McManus

What he didn’t know was that two sisters who had been at the party had made statements naming Gangitano as the killer.

Which meant it should have been an open and shut case; except it wasn’t.

The key witnesses were treated appallingly in police protection and were eventually persuaded by sources close to Al to recant. They refused to testify and Gangitano paid for their timely overseas holiday.

Without their testimony police were forced to drop the case and were presented with a $69,975.35 legal bill from the suspect’s defence team.

Police say they've found the remains of career criminal Terrence Blewitt.

Police say they’ve found the remains of career criminal Terrence Blewitt.

“He had been an active criminal for 20 years and we should have had enough to convict him of murder,” Gustke says.

He says Gangitano cultivated the Hollywood gangster image but “take away that charade and he was nothing but a thug”.

Graham "The Munster" Kinniburgh was killed in Kew in 2003.
Graham “The Munster” Kinniburgh was killed in Kew in 2003. Photo: Andrew De La Rue

(He also had a thin skin, suing me for stupidly saying on radio that he had, “a brain the size of a flea and the genitalia to match”.) He was shot dead in January 1998 before the matter progressed to court.

The Workman stuff-up still burns Gustke who is determined it will not happen again. Nothing, he says, can be taken for granted when dealing with high-level gangsters.

Murdered underworld figure Jason Moran.
Murdered underworld figure Jason Moran. Photo: Matthew Bouwmeester

Now the Detective Inspector heading the Purana taskforce he knows that charging an organised crime figure is just the start of a long legal battle.

Purana was formed in 2003 in response to the Underbelly gangland murders that saw crooks such as Carl Williams, Andrew Veniamin and Jason Moran become household names. (Their fame came at a cost as all three ended up murdered).

Slain underworld figure Alphonse Gangitano.
Slain underworld figure Alphonse Gangitano.  Photo: Joe Armao

Today Purana is trying to get in front of the game by identifying the next generation of crooks before they build similar underworld power bases.

Gustke spent three years in counter terrorism, where the aim is to disrupt before an attack rather than investigate the aftermath.

But there are old cases from the Underbelly days that the squad revisits – such as the murder of Graham Kinniburgh, shot dead outside his Kew home in December 2003.

Purana detectives have charged Stephen John Asling with the murder and allege he, along with the notorious Terrence Blewitt, were contracted to kill Kinniburgh.

Detectives have dug up new evidence, which led them to dig up Blewitt, buried in a Thomastown scrapyard. Forensic tests indicate he was shot dead.

It would be wise for Asling to negotiate a bulk fee for his lawyers, as it is fair to say he remains a subject of much interest to Purana detectives and also interstate investigators looking at another unsolved matter.

While he won’t discuss any case before the courts Gustke is keen to pass on a general message through the pages of Naked City (voted the gangsters’ column of choice 2010-15). “Time can bring you down and we are not going away.”

Which brings us to the murder of Mad Richard Mladenich who was shot dead about 3am on May 16, 2000, at the seedy Esquire Hotel in St Kilda. Witness said the gunman wore sunglasses (which confirms it is apparently illegal to appear in public without shades if you are a gangster or a Test cricketer).

While Mad Richard is very much dead the case is very much alive with Purana detectives believing a positive outcome is a real possibility.

The suspect is a gangster who has grown his wealth from next to nothing when he walked out of jail two years ago to nearly $9 million.

The theory is that drug dealer turned killer Carl Williams was the getaway driver and so when Carl tried to do a deal with police to give evidence into the murders of Christine and Terence Hodson (killed four years to the day after Mad Richard), the shady gangster in the shades became decidedly nervous.

He felt if Carl was getting talkative he might start chatting about Mladenich. And that is why, police suspect, Williams was murdered in Barwon prison in April 2010.

Perhaps if Williams had been asked to make a statement on Mad Richard he would have obliged. But guess what? He wasn’t and the opportunity went begging.

But Mr Shades shouldn’t get too cocky as he is about to get caught between a rock and a hard place. Flat out shooting people in road rage attacks, buying investment properties and organising murders, he has failed to take out Australian citizenship. Which means he is on a list to be chucked out of the country. And so his next pair of designer sunglasses may be bought at the duty free shop at Melbourne Airport.

Everyone loves to talk about proactive policing but for every one cop working on organised crime there are 100 chasing volume crimes such as burglaries and car thefts.

On pure figures the theft of a second-hand car is the same as seizing a kilogram of ice, as both are listed as a single crime.

But consider this. A kilo of ice broken down to street level produces 100,000 street hits with a retail value of $5 million.

If just half that is funded through low level thefts and considering that stolen property has to be sold at a massive discount then it is reasonable to suggest that $10 million is added to our crime bill per kilo of ice. And the big boys talk of moving tonnes, not kilos, to fill our insatiable appetite for the stuff.

Gustke argues that if groups such as Purana are successful there will be a flow-on effect on general crime rates.

“It is about treating the cause and not the symptom.”

That is the policy he hopes will work as a team in the taskforce starts investigating the massive increase in firearms trafficking, which has resulted with someone in the drug world getting shot in Melbourne every few days.

Clearly there is a syndicate importing hundreds of weapons, probably through the docks, while others are using the Dark Web to have guns posted to them.

So catch the importers and the number of shootings should drop. It is simple maths (although most crooks think Algebra is an African country).

If Gustke had his way, we would set up international taskforces in feeder countries to try and seize drugs before they left for Australia.

“Authorities are flat out looking at what is coming into their country. If we had a presence in key harbours we would save ourselves millions in investigations and prosecutions.”

While the public is well aware of the squad’s impressive body of work some within prisons are not big Purana fans, as this jail ditty would suggest.

F—–g Purana Squad.

You’s are a f—–g joke,

Why pick on us?

We’re nothing but good blokes.

We know you get jealous,

Of our girls and our cars,

Instead of living your lives,

You keep trying to live ours.

So before I curse your family,

And pray to God you all die,

I hope it’s clear that you are the animals,

And we’re the good guys.

It is no secret that Mick Gatto, the industrial mediator with a colourful past, has been the subject of many and varied Purana investigations.

So Gatto would have hardly been surprised when Gustke, along with Purana detectives and investigators from a myriad law enforcement agencies last month turned up to search his Lower Plenty and Mt Martha homes.

What would have been a surprise is they came armed with a snazzy X-ray machine that can look inside walls for secret hidey-holes used to secure items from unwanted scrutiny.

The raid was conducted after someone paid for a slap-up meal at Mornington’s Royal Hotel with three counterfeit $100 notes. (The Liverwurst pate on a warm baguette is a favourite with locals.)

The notes were discovered some time after Mick and his party left following their Friday dinner – a coincidence that no doubt has left Gatto perplexed. (It would be hardly surprising if he paid cash as the Tax Department has frozen his credit cards after hitting him with a $10 million bill.)

It is a matter of record that police claim to have found a firearm and about $80,000 (real) cash at the Lower Plenty address.

As always Gatto was the perfect host for the raiding party, even if they were uninvited guests.

He offered to make them coffee (from imported beans as there is no instant brew at Chateau Gatto).

“I made sure I didn’t have one,” Gustke says.

– John Silvester

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Contract Killings, Contract Murders, Homicide, Murder, Organised Crime | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Rogerson’s Corrupt Web Of Darkness

June 18th, 2016

With Roger Rogerson safely behind bars with his reputation destroyed beyond defamation, his secret connections with Victorian criminals and corrupt police have come under new scrutiny.

Rogerson has always been blamed in underworld and police circles for heading a group of corrupt Sydney cops who allegedly murdered Melbourne-born hit man Christopher Dale Flannery in 1985 on the orders of serial race-fixer George Freeman.

Flannery was last seen getting into a car with other men near his apartment in inner Sydney on May 9 that year.

It is thought Flannery’s body was dumped in the sea.

This was almost identical to the way Rogerson’s last victim Jamie Gao was disposed of two years ago, echoing the chilling scene in cult drama Blue Murder in which rogue police lash a live man to a stove and throw him overboard.

An associate of notorious underworld figures has told the Sunday Herald Sun Rogerson was one several rogue Sydney detectives who came to Melbourne on a “hit and run” mission to kill Flannery weeks before his disappearance.

They had heard Flannery was visiting old haunts. Kill Flannery in his hometown, the theory went, and the hit could be blamed on almost anyone. It was a good theory but a dud plan.

The would-be hit squad set up headquarters at the shady Port Melbourne pub run by former VFA footballer Fred Cook. They ran up a huge bill for alcohol and prostitutes but did not pay it.

Cook would reveal later that notorious drug dealer, killer and police informer Dennis “Mr Death” Allen paid the bill for the “visitors”.

Murder victim Jamie Gao.

An undated image of Dennis Allen.

The vicious and erratic Allen kept guns, drugs and cash at the pub as well as at 16 houses he owned in Richmond. He had strong links with Melbourne’s infamous corrupt cop Paul Higgins and another policeman who left the force long ago but is still alive.

Sources close to Allen say he paid $14000 a week to the pair — a figure representing exactly $1000 a day for each. In return they managed to get bail for him no matter how serious the charges were.

Rogerson and one of his henchmen reputedly who went to Brunswick but their “mail” that Flannery would be at a particular address was wrong and they returned to Sydney, where they ambushed Flannery later.

It wasn’t the first time Rogerson strayed into the Victorian underworld, where he reputedly had a working relationship with Higgins and others.

In 1982, Melbourne drug dealer Alan David Williams had been the target of a drug squad operation in Melbourne. A NSW undercover policeman, Mick Drury, was playing the part of a Sydney heroin buyer in a classic sting.

Williams was suspicious of the unknown buyer — especially when Drury did not want to get into a car with him to do the deal. He dodged arrest but was caught four months later.

Williams contacted Flannery, asking if Rogerson or other police could bribe Drury or “slow him down”.

Roger Rogerson inside a police truck being taken into Bankstown Court to face charges relating to the murder of Jamie Gao. Picture: Craig Greenhill

Roger Rogerson with Mark Chopper Read in 2006. Picture: diimex.com

The story goes that when Drury refused $100,000 bribe, Flannery offered to kill him for the same amount. Drury was shot in his suburban kitchen on June 6, 1984, but survived.

Whether Flannery pulled the trigger is a mystery. There is a persistent rumour Rogerson stepped in at the last moment because Flannery was too “twitchy” from using cocaine.

Rogerson would openly boast of shooting others “in the line of duty” but was always evasive about Drury. His alibi for the evening Drury was shot was that he met someone at a certain club. The someone was Flannery.

Flannery and Rogerson swore they were with each other at the time Drury was shot, so who did it? Asked this question, Rogerson once said he heard it was another Melbourne gunman, Laurie Prendergast.

Once asked to name a corrupt policeman, Rogerson said he know only one: “Michael Drury”. It was his idea of a joke but now the laugh is on him.

– Andrew Rule

Posted in Cold Case Murders, Contract Killings, Contract Murders, Corruption and Misconduct, Drug Trafficking, Manufacturing and Dealing, Execution-Style Murders, Homicide, Murder, Non-Fatal Shootings, Organised Crime, Police Culture, Police Informers, Police Shootings, Shootings, Standover, Unsolved Murders, Violent Crime | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Murdered Man Had Been Stabbed And Drugged And Suffered A Prolonged Death

October 5th, 2016

A man whose charred body was found in a suitcase in a Sydney reserve endured a lingering death, a jury has been told.

Dr Rianie Van Vuuren said an autopsy could not determine the cause of Dane McNeill’s death but it was likely to have been a combination of stab wounds and the toxic effects of drugs.

Azam Charbaji, 26, and Haysem Charbaji, 24, have pleaded not guilty in the NSW Supreme Court to the July 2014 murder of 20-year-old Mr McNeill, who the crown says was bashed, stabbed and force-fed Xanax tablets.

The younger brother’s then-girlfriend Lexy May Jamieson, 26, has pleaded not guilty to being an accessory.

The main reason for the absence of a firm conclusion as to the cause of Mr McNeill’s death was the “very extreme charring” of his body, said Dr Vuuren.

Mr McNeill had a number of stab wounds to his face and neck, as well as to his right buttock, and there were signs which suggested he had been tied up.

The autopsy findings “were indicative of a lingering death”, she added.

The trial is continuing.

Posted in Homicide, Murder, Torture | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Police Officer’s Heart broken After Giving CPR To Toddler Thrown From Bridge

February 23rd, 2016

The brutal murder of a young girl at the hands of her father in 2009 still haunts a police officer who was one of the first on the scene.

Police officer, Colleen Spiteri, 43, has launched legal action against the Victoria Police and VicRoads seven years after the death of four-year-old Darcey Iris Freeman, the Herald Sun reports.

She says her employers failed to fulfill their duty of care to her in the months following Darcey’s death.

The little girl was murdered by her father, Arthur Freeman, who tossed her from Melbourne’s West Gate Bridge in an attempt to hurt the child’s mother.

Darcey Iris Freeman, 4, (pictured) was murdered by her father in 2009 - she was thrown from Melbourne's West Gate Bridge
Darcey Iris Freeman, 4, (pictured) was murdered by her father in 2009 – she was thrown from Melbourne’s West Gate Bridge

One of the police officers, Colleen Spiteri, (pictured) who was first on the scene is suing Victoria Police for the handling of the murder
One of the police officers, Colleen Spiteri, (pictured) who was first on the scene is suing Victoria Police for the handling of the murder

Ms Spiteri says she was not properly monitored by Victoria Police following the incident 

Ms Spiteri says she was not properly monitored by Victoria Police following the incident 

Darcey's father Arthur was sentenced to 32-years-jail after the incident

Darcey’s father Arthur was sentenced to 32-years-jail after the incident

Ms Spiteri was one of the first officers on the scene and gave Darcey CPR, but the little girl could not be revived.

Ms Spiteri says she now suffers from depression and post-traumatic stress disorder because Victoria Police failed in their duty of care following the incident.

The police officer, who has two grown children, submitted a victim impact statement to the court during the girl’s murder trial.

In the report Ms Spiteri said her sadness over the event had not diminished, The Australian reported at the time. ‘It breaks my heart,’ she said in the statement.

‘I could not help Darcey,’ she said. ‘I pleaded with her to wake up. She didn’t.’

In a writ filed with the court on Monday Ms Spiteri alleges support systems used by Victoria Police are not adequate to support officers exposed to stressful events.

Ms Spiteri says she gave Darcey CPR but could not revive her - she says she now has depression and post-traumatic stress disorder because she didn't receive sufficient counseling 
Ms Spiteri says she gave Darcey CPR but could not revive her – she says she now has depression and post-traumatic stress disorder because she didn’t receive sufficient counselling 

Freeman threw his daughter into the water after calling her mother and telling her to say her goodbyes

Freeman threw his daughter into the water after calling her mother and telling her to say her goodbyes

Ms Spiteri gave evidence in court in 2011 saying the incident still saddened her

Ms Spiteri gave evidence in court in 2011 saying the incident still saddened her

It is also alleged Ms Spiteri was not given proper counselling after attending the crime scene.

Ms Spiteri is suing VicRoads for not having adequate safety guards along the bridge, The Age reports.

The writ says VicRoads should have known the risks of not having safety guards on the bridge.

Barriers were erected on the bridge soon after the incident. In 2014 Darcey’s mother Peta Barnes won a settlement with Vic Roads over the lack of barriers on the bridge.

Freeman threw the girl from the bridge after ringing her mother to tell her to say goodbye to her three children. He was sentenced to 32 years jail in 2011.

It is not yet known how much compensation Ms Spiteri is asking for.

Ms Spiteri is also suing VicRoads because they did not have railings installed which could have stopped the incident
Ms Spiteri is also suing VicRoads because they did not have railings installed which could have stopped the incident

– Belinda Cleary

Posted in Homicide, Murder, Police Culture, Police Investigative Techniques/Procedures | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Speeding Jet Ski Rider Strikes And Kills Swimmer

May 8th, 2015

A jet ski driver who was speeding in an exclusion zone off Port Melbourne when he struck and killed a swimmer was “fanging” the machine, a witness told police.

The County Court also heard on Friday that other witnesses described Ivan Maqi as “hooning” and “show boating” before he hit Robert Brewster.

Prosecutor Gary Hevey told the court that a witness said Maqi, who was carrying a passenger, “pretty much” had the Seadoo jetski at “full throttle” as he did spins and went from side to side.

Mr Hevey said that just before 6pm on February 24, 2012, Mr Brewster, 51,was on a regular swim in a “swimming only” zone between Lagoon and Kerford Piers when he was struck and suffered head injuries.

Maqi, a house painter, pleaded guilty before Judge Sandra Davis to a charge of culpable driving, the first time in Victoria such a charge has been admitted that involved a water craft.

Victim impact statements by Mr Brewster’s partner, his two daughters, estranged wife and his father were read aloud by Mr Hevey.

Ivan Maqi is charged with killing a man while riding a jet ski.

Ivan Maqi is charged with killing a man while riding a jet ski.  Photo: Joe Armao

His partner, Natalie Kurban ,wrote that “no words could possibly describe the impact” of his death on her and his family.

Maqi’s barrister, Ian Crisp, told the court his client, who has no prior or subsequent convictions, acknowledged the trauma and distress for Mr Brewster’s family and friends.

Mr Crisp asked Ms Davis to also accept that Maqi’s guilty plea indicated his sorrow and remorse and that he had berated himself on the beach after the collision when witnesses saw him punching the sand over and over.

Maqi was heard to repeatedly say “stupid, stupid”, that he was being “such a dick head” and a “dudus”.

Mr Hevey said Maqi struck Mr Brewster in an area excluded to vessels such as the Seadoo or, if relevant, where rules provided that vessels present were not to exceed a speed of about nine kilometres an hour.

One witness estimated Maqi’s speed at about 70 kilometres an hour and another at about 50 kilometres an hour.

Mr Hevey said Maqi, then 21, had operated the machine in a highly inappropriate and negligent manner and at a “very high speed”.

Sixteen days before the collision, he had completed an accredited recreational boat and personal water craft assessment course and had finished an examination to confirm he had an “adequate understanding” of the rules relevant to a Seadoo.

Mr Hevey said that at all times Mr Brewster, a manager with the tax office, was swimming in the “swimming only” or “no boating zone”.

One witness said she saw a jet ski “zooming dangerously close to the pier” and “increased their speed ridiculously close to both sides of the pier and even closer to the beach where other people were swimming…”

Mr Hevey said the prosecution contended that Maqi had operated the Seadoo in a manner that “failed unjustifiably and to a gross degree” to the standard of care a reasonable person would have observed.

Maqi, now 24, who was supported in court on Friday by his parents, sister and brother and friends, accepted the contents of the victim impact statements, said Mr Crisp.

“This terrible experience that he caused the death of an another human being will definitely stay with him for the rest of his life,” Mr Crisp submitted, and added that Maqi “continues to have grave difficulties coming to terms with that”.

There was “absolutely no excuse”, he said, for him not having not kept a proper look-out and being in the restricted zone and speeding, but argued that a non-immediate jail term was within the sentencing range.

Mr Hevey submitted that the type of offence required immediate imprisonment, and argued that “this was not simply an accident”, because Mr Bewster died “needlessly” and “he did so as a result of the gross negligence of this accused in the way he rode this particular jet ski”.

Maqi was assessed for a community corrections order, which found he was suitable, Mr Crisp said Maqi had been found a low risk of offending and was willing to comply with such an order.

In response, Mr Hevey accepted that jail was always a “last resort choice”, that Maqi was a “youthful offender”, was at the lower end of the scale of intellectual capacity and had good prospects of rehabilitation.

But Mr Hevey said the offending was not a “momentary lapse”, onlookers had warned Maqi about his conduct before the collision and that the “vast majority” of culpable driving offenders were jailed immediately with suspended sentences “few and far between”.

Judge Davis extended Maqi’s bail for sentencing on May 22.

– Steve Butcher

Posted in Culpable Driving Causing Death or Injury, Dangerous Driving, Fatal Traffic Accidents, Traffic, traffic accidents | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Motorcycle Crash Baffles Police

April 28th, 2016

Police are searching for the rider of a badly damaged motorcycle that was involved in a serious crash on a highway.

A passer-by alerted police after coming across the scene on the Hume Freeway near Longwood, in northern Victoria, just after 6am on Sunday.

It is believed the rider struck a wombat, which was found on the scene, causing him to lose control of his bike and crash.

Police are trying to locate the rider of this damaged motorcycle. It is believed the rider was involved in an accident after hitting a wombat on a highway
Police are trying to locate the rider of this damaged motorcycle. It is believed the rider was involved in an accident after hitting a wombat on a highway

Money and a shoe were found alongside skid marks which stretched along the road for about 100 metres.

Police are appealing for the rider or anyone who may have picked him up to contact police and have since released images of the motorcycle in hopes someone will recognise it.

The red and white Honda CBR 900 motorcycle has a distinctive face painted on its body.

Upon locating the motorbike, a search was conducted involving police dogs, helicopters and State Emergency Service volunteers.

The registration details of the motorcycle have been checked but they have not been of any assistance to police.

The incident which occurred on Sunday morning at about 6am was reported to police by a passer-by
The incident which occurred on Sunday morning at about 6am was reported to police by a passer-by

– Martha Azzi

Posted in Missing Persons, Traffic, traffic accidents | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Pain Of Protesting

May 29th, 2016

A photograph taken during a wild brawl between anti-Islam and anti-racism protesters shows a demonstrator who appears to be suffering the after-effect of being pepper sprayed.

The picture was taken after police were called in to control demonstrators from the right-wing United Patriots front who were marching to ‘stop the far left’ in response to a ‘No To Racism’ rally taking place in Coburg, Melbourne, on Saturday morning.

The young man is seen crouched with his back against the wall with a police officer beside him.

An incredible photograph taken in the middle of a wild brawl between anti-Islam and anti-racism protesters
A photograph taken in the middle of a wild brawl between anti-Islam and anti-racism protesters

The protester was clearly suffering the effects of being pepper sprayed 

Suffering the effects of being pepper sprayed

The protester’s eyes appear extremely red and irritated from pepper spray, while large streams of mucus are seen pouring from his nose.

A red shirt is hanging loose from his neck, and his hands are tied behind his back.

It comes after a special taskforce will be created to catch protesters who covered their faces with flags and masks during ugly clashes between anti-Islam and anti-racism groups.

A large police presence of about 500 riot squad officers was on hand to try to control the peace, however the day quickly turned violent, with some protesters even being bashed with flagpoles flying the Australia flag. 

A special taskforce will be created to catch protesters who covered their faces with flags and masks during ugly clashes between anti-Islam and anti-racism groups
A special taskforce will be created to catch protesters who covered their faces with flags and masks during ugly clashes between anti-Islam and anti-racism groups

Police commander Sharon Cowden called those who hid their identity during the protests 'cowards', and said those who behaved 'inappropriately' will be punished

Police commander Sharon Cowden called those who hid their identity during the protests ‘cowards’, and said those who behaved ‘inappropriately’ will be punished

Officers also used pepper spray on protesters as the rallies descended into ugly street brawls.

Police commander Sharon Cowden called those who hid their identity during the protests ‘cowards’, and said those who behaved ‘inappropriately’ will be punished.

‘When people hide their identity and I believe it makes them more violent when they are on the streets,’ Ms Cowden told the Herald Sun.

‘What happened today is not on and we will be looking at the footage, finding out what else we can do, to track these people down and bring them to justice.’

About 500 riot squad officers was on hand to try to control the peace, however the day quickly turned violent, with some protesters even being bashed with flagpoles flying the Australia flag
About 500 riot squad officers was on hand to try to control the peace, however the day quickly turned violent, with some protesters even being bashed with flagpoles flying the Australia flag

Acting Premier James Merlino said: 'Protesters who wear face masks, carry weapons and engage in violent behaviour are cowards, and this behaviour is unacceptable.'
Acting Premier James Merlino said: ‘Protesters who wear face masks, carry weapons and engage in violent behaviour are cowards, and this behaviour is unacceptable.’

Acting Premier James Merlino also told the newspaper: ‘Protesters who wear face masks, carry weapons and engage in violent behaviour are cowards, and this behaviour is unacceptable.’   

It comes after footage captured by 9NEWS showed protesters stabbing one another with the end of flag poles while others threw punches at anyone in close range.

The chaotic brawl had more than 300 people draped in the Australian flag and most with their faces covered – with some wearing Guy Fawkes masks.

Police made seven arrests amid the violent scuffles with two people arrested for riotous behaviour, one for assaulting a police and one for hindering police, while one was arrested for robbery
Police made seven arrests amid the violent scuffles with two people arrested for riotous behaviour, one for assaulting a police and one for hindering police, while one was arrested for robbery

Police made seven arrests amid the violent scuffles with two people arrested for riotous behaviour, one for assaulting a police and one for hindering police, while one was arrested for robbery.

The two groups hurled abuse at each other during the marches with some swearing and others making derogatory remarks.

Anti-racism protesters chanted ‘Nazi Scum, off our streets’ while UPF members carried a sign which read ‘No Refugees. Our home, our future.’

Protesters brandished Australian flags (pictured) and used them as weapons when two rival rallies violently clashed in in Melbourne¿s northern suburb Coburg
Protesters brandished Australian flags (pictured) and used them as weapons when two rival rallies violently clashed in in Melbourne’s northern suburb Coburg

Demonstrators from the True Blue Crew and United Patriots Front (UPF) were marching to ¿Stop The Far Left¿ at the same time as the ¿No To Racism¿ rally by anti-racism and anti-Islam groups (pictured)\

Demonstrators from the True Blue Crew and United Patriots Front (UPF) were marching to ‘Stop The Far Left’ at the same time as the ‘No To Racism’ rally by anti-racism and anti-Islam groups (pictured)

Footage captured at the rally shows protesters stabbing one another (left) with the end of flag polesOthers were hit with violent punches from demonstrators on Bell street in Coburg

Footage captured at the rally shows protesters stabbing one another (left) with the end of flag poles while others threw punches at anyone in close range (right)

 Anti-racism protesters chanted ¿Nazi Scum, off our streets¿ while UPF (pictured) members carried a sign which read ¿No Refugees. Our home, our future¿

Anti-racism protesters chanted ‘Nazi Scum, off our streets’ while UPF (pictured) members carried a sign which read ‘No Refugees. Our home, our future’

UPF leader Blair Cottrell threatened rivals by saying 'force and terror' will be used, before telling supporters the anti-racism demonstrators were 'smashed'Commander Sharon Cowden has since condemned the riot calling the violence inappropriate and ¿cowardly¿

UPF leader Blair Cottrell threatened rivals by saying ‘force and terror’ will be used, before telling supporters the anti-racism demonstrators were ‘smashed’

UPF leader Blair Cottrell threatened rivals by saying ‘force and terror’ will be used, before telling supporters the anti-racism demonstrators were ‘smashed.’

Demonstrators for the No To Racism rally, which included members from the Anti Fascist Action, gathered to protest the forced closure of Aboriginal communities, off-shore detention centres and Islamophobia.

Commander Sharon Cowden has since condemned the riot calling the violence inappropriate and ‘cowardly’.

Authorities have said the violence was attributed to extremists within both groups blaming both rivals for their 'cowardly' behaviour 
Authorities have said the violence was attributed to extremists within both groups blaming both rivals for their ‘cowardly’ behaviour 

The riot police stood between the opposing demonstrators in an attempt to stop a clash from occurring but protesters tried to break the police lines

The riot police stood between the opposing demonstrators in an attempt to stop a clash from occurring but protesters tried to break the police lines

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull called on protesters to respect one another and said: ¿We are the most successful multicultural society in the world

Police were forced to make arrests as protesters turned violent throwing punches and crates at rivals

Commander Sharon Cowden praised the efforts of police in maintaining the crowd and ensuring no one was seriously injured

Commander Sharon Cowden praised the efforts of police in maintaining the crowd and ensuring no one was seriously injured

She said: ‘We saw inappropriate and often cowardly behaviour with people wearing masks and hiding their identity … I believe it makes them more violent when they are on the streets.

‘What happened today is not on. We will be looking at the footage, finding out what else we can do, to track these people down and bring them to justice.

‘There were clashes on both sides, so I condemn the behaviour of both sides but mostly it’s the extremists.

Police were forced to use capsicum spray during a rally involving anti-racism and anti-Islam protesters in Melbourne on Saturday morning
Police were forced to use capsicum spray during a rally involving anti-racism and anti-Islam protesters in Melbourne on Saturday morning

Desperate to calm down the crowd riot police were seen using the capsicum spray on numerous occasions

Desperate to calm down the crowd riot police were seen using the capsicum spray on numerous occasions

One protester was brought down to his knees as the spray hit him directly in the face

One protester was brought down to his knees as the spray hit him directly in the face

Officers were eventually able to settle down the demonstrator in order to restrain him

Officers were eventually able to settle down the demonstrator in order to restrain him

‘You get the extremists and they are often very cowardly and they will come along looking for a fight and that’s what we saw today.’

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull called on protesters to respect one another and said: ‘We are the most successful multicultural society in the world.

‘We are united, we have so much in common and we are stronger and more prosperous as a nation because of that diversity.

Police detain a man as the clashes between the rival protesters turned violent in Coburg
Police detain a man as the clashes between the rival protesters turned violent in Coburg

A riot officer stands on guard ready to aim his capsicum spray at demonstrators who continue to cause havoc as photographers pose ready to take photos while wearing goggles

A riot officer stands on guard ready to aim his capsicum spray at demonstrators who continue to cause havoc as photographers pose ready to take photos while wearing goggles

A man is pictured sitting down on the side of the road attempting to relieve his pain with water after being capsicum sprayed

A man is pictured sitting down on the side of the road attempting to relieve his pain with water after being capsicum sprayed

Members from the far-left Anti Fascist Action group gathered to join the No To Racism rally and concealed their identities by covering their faces

Members from the far-left Anti Fascist Action group gathered to join the No To Racism rally and concealed their identities by covering their faces

‘My message today and every day, as your Prime Minister, is that mutual respect, respect for each other, giving the respect to others that we ask of them is key to our success.’

Greens Leader Richard Di Natale blamed the riots on the ‘toxic debate’ off asylum seekers in Australia.

‘We need both the Labor Party and particularly this Government to rein in the comments it is making.

A demonstrator wearing the Australia flag to cover his face also attempted to escape from the riot squad as they used capsicum spray

A demonstrator wearing the Australia flag to cover his face also attempted to escape from the riot squad as they used capsicum spray

 Members of the Anti Fascist Action group were protesting the forced closure of Aboriginal communities, off-shore detention centres and Islamophobia

Members of the Anti Fascist Action group were protesting the forced closure of Aboriginal communities, off-shore detention centres and Islamophobia

One man aids another protester while wearing gloves in a bid to avoid touching the OC spray covering the man's face

One man aids another protester while wearing gloves in a bid to avoid touching the OC spray covering the man’s face

Commander Sharon Cowden has since condemned the clashes calling the violence and inappropriate behaviour 'cowardly'

Commander Sharon Cowden has since condemned the clashes calling the violence and inappropriate behaviour ‘cowardly’

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull urged demonstrators to respect each other as well as stating Australia is 'the most successful multicultural society in the world'

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull urged demonstrators to respect each other as well as stating Australia is ‘the most successful multicultural society in the world’

‘It’s contributing to ugly race politics, the consequences of which were seen in Melbourne today.’

Senior police and weapons checkpoints have been present since early Saturday morning costing tax payers approximately $1.7 million.

Police are expected to continue their investigations by examining footage in hopes of bringing violent demonstrators to justice.

Police are expected to continue looking at footage in hopes of bringing certain protesters to justice 
Police are expected to continue looking at footage in hopes of bringing certain protesters to justice 

Greens Leader Richard Di Natale blamed the riots on the 'toxic debate' off asylum seekers in Australia

Greens Leader Richard Di Natale blamed the riots on the ‘toxic debate’ off asylum seekers in Australia

Tax payers have been forced to pay approximately $1.7 million for resources used to manage the protests

Tax payers have been forced to pay approximately $1.7 million for resources used to manage the protests

Members from ANTIFA wore Guy Fawkes mask and held signs saying 'there is no authority but yourself' and 'Muslims are welcome, racists are not'

Members from ANTIFA wore Guy Fawkes mask and held signs saying ‘there is no authority but yourself’ and ‘Muslims are welcome, racists are not’

An old woman attempts to continue her daily routine as she walks past a group of protesters 

An old woman attempts to continue her daily routine as she walks past a group of protesters 

– Liam Quinn and Aneeta Bhole and Martha Azzi

Posted in Demonstrations and Rallies, Disorderly Conduct, Disturbing the Peace, Protests, Racism, Harassment and Vilification, Resisting Arrest, Rioting, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Dumbass Car Thief Leaves Mobile Phone In Dumped Car

May 17th, 2016

A man who stole a car from a Melbourne garage earlier this month may have left behind the best clue police could hope for – a photo of himself.

On May 1st, a red Alfa Romeo was stolen from a home in Templestowe in Melbourne, along with some items from a Mercedes Benz that was also in the garage.

A week later police saw the red vehicle speeding down the street in Hawthorn, but when the driver dumped the vehicle and fled after a pursuit he left his mobile phone in the front seat.

Police have released this image of a suspected car thief after he left his phone in a stolen Alpha Romeo
Police have released this image of a suspected car thief after he left his phone in a stolen Alpha Romeo

He had been spotted driving along Auburn Road before turning on to the Monash Freeway when the front left tyre flew off.

‘The driver then got out of the car and fled on foot’, Victoria Police said in a statement.

Police have released an image found on the phone which shows a man, being kissed on the cheek by a woman, in the hopes of identifying the thief.

A red Alpha Romeo (file photo) was stolen from a garage in Templestowe, Melbourne
A red Alpha Romeo (file photo) was stolen from a garage in Templestowe, Melbourne

– Freya Noble

Posted in Motor Vehicle Theft, Police traffic pursuits, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Car Jacking In Cheltenham

October 3rd, 2016

Kingston Crime Investigation Unit detectives are appealing for public assistance following two car thefts today.

A white Toyota Hilux ute was stolen from Dingley Village early this morning.

The ute was driven to a shopping centre carpark on Nepean Highway in Cheltenham about 1.30pm.

The three occupants dumped the ute and approached a nearby vehicle.

One of the men, who had his face covered, pulled the male driver from his Gold 2010 Toyota Yaris and stole his mobile phone.

All three men got into the Yaris and drove away leaving the man shaken but uninjured.

It is believed the offenders have stolen a set of number plates nearby and continued driving.

The stolen plates have registration number 1CE 6TU.

Anyone with any information is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or submit a confidential crime report to www.crimestoppersvic.com.au

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Man’s Body Located In Sunbury

October 3rd, 2016

Police are investigating after the body of a man was located in his house in Sunbury this afternoon.

The 53-year-old man was located deceased in his home on Collins Street by his adult daughter about 3.30pm.

The exact cause of death is yet to be determined.

Homicide Squad detectives have been notified as a precaution and will await the results of a post mortem.

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